Locals: Mali bomber tied to terror leader
GAO, Mali – A young militant who locals say had ties with terror leader Moktar Belmoktar blew himself up Friday near a military checkpoint on the outskirts of Gao, fueling fears of a looming insurgency by the jihadists who fled into the nearby desert just two weeks ago.
The suicide attack, the first of its kind since the French-led mission began in January, highlights the challenges that remain despite the retaking of northern Mali's largest town by French and Malian forces nearly two weeks ago.
They faced little resistance in initially recapturing Gao, though the discovery of industrial-strength explosives and Friday's bombing suggest the Islamic radicals are far from defeated.
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